Every time I go out to travel, especially in cross-border countries, I always find myself researching and looking for a direct bus route or a direct train to transfer me from one country to another. Taking a plane (aside from coming to and from my point of origin) is always out of the question. I know for a fact that traveling by plane can save me some time and traveling for a long time can make for a very dull travel, but I always prefer to travel by land. The longest land travel I had was 9 hours from Thailand to Cambodia and vice versa.
If you are coming from Macau, Hong Kong, or Shenzhen, China and going to Beijing, the average plane ride would take approximately four hours compare to 8-12 hours when you take the train or if you are from Bangkok to Siem Reap, it’s a 9-hour ride by land and 2 hours by plane or if you are coming from one province in the Philippines to another, traveling by plane can save you as much as 8 hours of travel, you would think that traveling by land is a crazy idea, right? Well, if you look it that way, then that is very much true. Yes, traveling by land may not be a good idea if you are short of time and if you are afraid of long travel. But, there are several reasons why some travelers, including myself, prefer to take the longer ride and the reasons are quite very common.
- Economical. Aside from the bullet train and some super speed train in some countries, bus and train tickets are way cheaper than air ticket. Air tickets can definitely hurt your pocket, especially if you are on a tight budget. A return-trip ticket to one place by bus or train is sometimes much cheaper than a one-way flight ticket.
- Price is fixed. Air tickets are always fluctuating, depending on day, season, and demand. On the other hand, bus and train tickets are always fixed regardless of time and season. If the price is fixed, you can then manage your budget more effectively.
- Discover things you don’t know about a place. In any countries, there is urban and there are rural areas. If you are traveling from one city to another, chances are, you will miss the other side of the country that you seldom see. Sometimes the beauty of a place are more seen on the corners least traveled and explored. If you are traveling to Bangkok and Siem Reap, would you miss the chance to experience and see in your own eyes the peculiarity of the provinces of Aranyaprathet and Poipet?
- Save you a night stay in a hotel. Everyone knows that a large part of your travel budget goes to your accommodation, and it is very hard to find cheap places that are cozy and acceptable for your taste. And one way of saving money is to travel at night. If the travel is more than 8 hours, you can get enough sleep at the vehicle and will save you a night at a rather expensive abode.
- The journey is a travel itself. This is especially true if you are traveling with friends, family, and loved ones, you wouldn’t even notice the time has passed because you are with the people you wanted to be around with. Singing together, playing cards, non-stop laughing, chit-chatting and of course, food trip can make this journey a memorable one.
- Can make a good photo-ops opportunity. You’ll never know when you can get the best opportunity to take your much awaited greatest subject. If you are on a road trip with friends or family on your own car, every time you discover a place for a good photo-ops opportunity, you can simply hop off the vehicle and take snap shots!
- No extra charge for your luggage. Baggage allowance is not always free on every flight tickets, some tend to go without luggage and maximize the free carry-on luggage which can be a hassle sometimes. If you are traveling by land you can bring as much luggage as you want without extra cost.
- No hidden charges on a bus or train ticket. When you look at your flight ticket, aside from the base fare and luggage fee, you will see some charges like, admin fee, insurance fee, seat selection fee and other miscellaneous fee that are ridiculously high.
- Can meet new friends. If you are traveling alone or in a group, chances are high that you can meet fellow travelers. The long journey can provide an ample time to get to know people and befriends them. They can give you some travel tips they get from the locals or some pieces of advice you can use for your next travel.
- Your time is flexible. Unlike with taking a plane when you have to be there at least an hour before your flight, taking the bus and train are more flexible. You can always adjust your schedule based on your itinerary or based on real time needs.
I am not saying that in every travel, land travel is always the better option, because that ain’t the truth. If you have a very limited time and you have enough money to finance your air travel, then taking the plane is the way to go. But personally, I love long travel for I get to spend more time in the road with the people I enjoy the company with. Memories of my travel on my desired destination is as memorable as the scenery and fun I get to experience while on the road.